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|Chapter 15: Small Town Gossip
Written by kathleen (elder)
(1/21/2004 7:59 a.m.)
We read at the beginning of the novel how the local rumour mill had exaggerated the number of Bingley's guests (attending the Meryton Assembly). In Chapter 7 we learn that Mr & Mrs Philips are able to provide their nieces with information about the officers in the ______ shire militia. In Chapter 15 we learn some of Mrs Philips' sources of information. (The Bennet girls are paying a visit to their Aunt, having just met Wickham & Denny.)
Mrs. Philips was always glad to see her nieces; and the two eldest, from their recent absence, were particularly welcome, and she was eagerly expressing her surprise at their sudden return home, which, as their own carriage had not fetched them, she should have known nothing about, if she had not happened to see Mr. Jones's shop-boy in the street, who had told her that they were not to send any more draughts to Netherfield because the Miss Bennets were come away,
She just happened to see this shop-boy, did she? Did she ask him about the draughts being sent to Netherfield, or did he mention it to make small talk? And how would she have known if the Bennet carriage had fetched the girls?
Mrs Philips' nieces ask their aunt what she knows about Wickham, but
she could only tell her nieces what they already knew, that Mr. Denny had brought him from London, and that he was to have a lieutenant's commission in the -- -- shire. She had been watching him the last hour, she said, as he walked up and down the street, and had Mr. Wickham appeared, Kitty and Lydia would certainly have continued the occupation, but unluckily no one passed the window now except a few of the officers, who, in comparison with the stranger, were become "stupid, disagreeable fellows."
This is such a good description of small town activities -- watching out the window to see who is doing what. And Kitty & Lydia are well on their way to becoming Mrs Philips & Mrs Bennet by copying this behaviour.
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